Diamond cash to fund elections

The GNU plans to source the $30 million targeted for national elections from diamond mining revenues, a document in our possession reveals.


Zimbabwe expects to earn $600 million from the sale of Marange diamonds authorised by the Kimberly Process.

The Minister of Finance, Tendai Biti, has set aside $30 million for the elections and the referendum, which should be held this year. But this is a pittance as the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission says it needs more than $100 million to hold the elections.

The document, entitled “Expenditure to be financed from diamond revenues” and compiled by the Ministry of Finance, says a further $10,5 million will be spent on the Harare International Airport, while $45 million will go to unspecified energy requirements and some to the struggling SME sector.

The Tokwe-Mukorsi Dam project will get $39 million, while $8 million will go towards the long awaited Gwayi-Shangani Dam, which has been the talk of the country since independence in 1980.

The document points out that Hwange Thermal Power Station will receive $30 million, Kariba South Power Station $7, 5 million, while the Harare International Airport and the Joshua M Nkomo International Airports will get $15 million and $7 million, respectively from the diamonds loot.

$50 million will be earmarked for the dwindling strategic grain reserves while $37 million will be used for the agricultural input scheme.

Leading stock market analysts Imara Edwards Africa Limited said while holding early elections might be impossible due to circumstances beyond the control of many, certain prerequisites needed to be fulfilled by the GNU.

“We view an election in 2012 very unlikely due to lack of funding and procedural delays. Many specific conditions necessary for the holding of free and fair vote have to implement – including media and electoral reforms. The constitution-making process will be finalised this year and we estimate that elections will probably take place in the middle of next year.

“Political uncertainty is likely to prevail in the run up to the elections and the fear of violence that characterised past elections could dampen business confidence,” said the stockbrokers.

Meanwhile Biti has already told international investors that elections will be held “come rain or sunshine”. “When they will be held we do not know but they will be held,” said Biti last week.

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